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During this summer I have got to thinking about what is good service, especially in my profession of independent financial advice.
It’s been a period of frustration at a personal level. My wife and I have been trying to move house. Unfortunately, we seem to have found the world’s slowest solicitor. Attention to detail, yes, but the speed of action, no. This solicitor only communicates to answer one of my questions, otherwise, I am in the dark. Good service? NO.
I remember an old saying, “PEOPLE DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW, UNTIL THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE.” I wonder how much this organisation cares?
So what about our business, what is and how good is our service?
Our clients are on a journey. Our job is to help them initially to clarify that journey, and then work with them to achieve the results they want. This journey may last for 20, 30 years or more.
We are Chartered Financial Planners. Top of the pile when it comes to technical knowledge. But what is that worth if our service was poor?
New client relationships can take many meetings and hours to clarify. Our modeling systems can take clients through many alternative scenarios. Once they and we are clear about the path to follow, the job is to get them there as painlessly as possible.
Our Service Plans
Our service offering is split into 3 options. Clients choose what works best for them.
We must always be available to talk again with our clients. When markets are volatile this is especially crucial.
Their lives may change, children or grandchildren arrive, marriages are made and broken, careers and businesses come and go. Their plan may have to be adapted to these changes. We liaise with their other advisers. We ensure their investments are always appropriate and in the longer term growing at the necessary rate.
We help them utilise their tax allowances, pension allowances, tax-advantageous investments. We ensure they are adequately protected should illness or death occur at the wrong time (if ever there was a right time?).
Many times on the journey we re-remind them of their goals. We hold their hands when they wobble a bit. What use is an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) if the ultimate financial objectives are not met.
So what skills and attributes must we exhibit every day?
- WE MUST CARE
- WE MUST BE REGULAR COMMUNICATERS
- WE MUST BE GOOD QUESTIONERS AND LISTENERS, WE MUST ANTICIPATE CONCERNS AND WORRIES, WE MUST BE PERSISTENT, WE MUST BE TIMELY, WE MUST HAVE OUR EYE ALWAYS ON THE CLIENTS GOALS,
Ultimately it all boils down to attention to detail. It’s a big ask, but then good IFA firms play a pivotal role in their clients’ lives.